Jurors in ex-officer's high-profile trial face heavy burden
The huge task for jurors at the trial of Chauvin showed during jury selection as some would-be jurors said they were unnerved by the very thought of being on the panel. A high fence installed around the courthouse for the trial is a daily reminder for jurors of security concerns. Numerous people expressed unease about serving on the panel for Chauvin's trial during the more than two weeks of jury selection. All the Chauvin jurors were asked before being impaneled if they could set aside outside influences and decide the case only on evidence presented at trial. AdAlan Tuerkheimer, a Chicago-based jury consultant, said he believed the Chauvin jurors would become increasingly calm as the trial proceeds and would be able to block out the hubbub.
Diverse jury raises activists' hopes for ex-cop's trial
African Americans bring “an institutional memory of the police” to jury rooms that whites and even other people of color don’t share, he said. AdDerek Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death May 25. When they do, recent history suggests a more diverse jury increases the odds for conviction, although the record is mixed. During questioning for Chauvin's jury, some people in the pool were strikingly direct about how the color of their skin affected their view of Floyd's death. A Black man in his 30s who immigrated to America more than 14 years ago said he talked with his wife about the case.
Joe Biden weighs Rahm Emanuel for transportation secretary
CHICAGO – President-elect Joe Biden is considering former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a substantial and somewhat divisive figure in Democratic Party politics, to serve as his transportation secretary. Progressive leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have been especially vocal in criticizing the prospect of Emanuel joining the Cabinet. “The administration needs people like Rahm who know how to get things done.”Some of the city’s Black elected officials are also vouching for him. Emanuel said he did not see the grisly video until it was set to be made public in November 2015. During his time as mayor, Chicago saw $11 billion in airfield, terminal and infrastructure investments at the city's airports.
Lack of body cameras fuels suspicion in Chicago shooting
Authorities have said they found a gun at the scene, but they acknowledge that the officers who shot him were not wearing cameras. After Allen was shot on Sunday, activists immediately seized on the news that the officers were not wearing body cameras. These details are uncorroborated, partially because CPD also claims there is no body camera footage available for this interaction, the group said. Questions about the lack of body cameras extend beyond activist groups. Chicago police have also used body camera footage to show that officers acted properly, possibly heading off the kind of rampage that unfolded this week.
Police contracts can stand in the way of accountability
A police officer engages with a protester Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Seattle, where streets had been blocked off in an area demonstrators had occupied for weeks. Seattle police showed up in force earlier in the day at the "occupied" protest zone, tore down demonstrators' tents and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings in less than two weeks. The "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" zone was set up near downtown following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Police contracts can stand in the way of accountability
Collective bargaining agreements for officers provide protections that stand in the way of accountability, even when the federal government is overseeing an agency through a consent decree, experts said. Contracts designed to ensure officers receive fair wages and benefits have spilled over into public policy. These examples bolster the hypothesis that some union contract provisions may impede effective investigations of police misconduct and shield problematic officers from discipline, Rushin said. The city entered into a settlement agreement, or consent decree, the following year and passed an accountability measure for additional oversight. One Seattle officer who benefited from the union contract in recent years was Cynthia Whitlach.
The Latest: Warren won't prosecute peaceful protesters
Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, right, speaks during a news conference Monday, June 15, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. Warren announced his decision not to prosecute dozens of protesters arrested on charges of unlawful assembly during a Black Lives Matter march on June 2. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)TOP OF THE HOUR: Florida state attorney won't prosecute peaceful protesters. State Attorney Andrew Warren in Tampa said that his office wont be filing charges against 67 protesters who were arrested two weeks ago in downtown Tampa. The prosecutors office will also work to expunge the arrest records of the protesters who were taken into custody, he said. In these unlawful assembly cases, there is no value in filing charges, Warren said at a news conference.
Video evidence increasingly disproves police narratives
Cellphone video showed him pleading for air as other officers stood by and bystanders urged the police to help him. The department realized the statement was inaccurate hours later when the bystander video surfaced, and immediately requested an FBI investigation, he said. But more than a year later, video was released showing that McDonald was veering away when he was shot by officer Jason Van Dyke, who was later convicted of second-degree murder. False public statements made by police departments and their leaders are more of a political issue" than a legal one, he said. The availability of video and a fast-moving news cycle accelerated by social media have put extra pressure on police department public information officers.
Report: 16 officers participated in Laquan McDonald cover-up
Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in January following his conviction of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Van Dyke fired seconds after arriving on scene and took 15 seconds to fire 16 shots. Van Dyke continued to fire, unloading every round from his 9-mm Smith & Wesson handgun. They included police claims that McDonald pointed his knife at Van Dyke, who was forced to backpedal and fired to stop an imminent threat. The deputy chief also falsely said in Van Dyke's tactical response report that McDonald "continued to approach" the officer.
4 Chicago officers fired over cover up' in Laquan McDonald shooting
Four Chicago police officers have been fired for covering up the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, the Chicago Police Board said Thursday. Stephen Franko, Officer Janet Mondragon, Officer Daphne Sebastian and Officer Ricardo Viramontes to be "discharged from the Chicago Police Department." "Indeed, taken on their face, the officers' accounts depict a scene in which Mr. McDonald was the aggressor and Officer Van Dyke the victima depiction squarely contradicted by reality. Police initially said McDonald lunged toward officers with a knife, prompting Van Dyke to open fire six seconds after getting out of his squad car. Last year, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.